Taap.it Reaches $2.4 Million in Transactions

Taap.it, the geo-aware classified mobile app that launched at TechCruch Disrupt in late May, has experienced impressive growth in the last two months.

They’ve seen $2.4 million in transactions cleared through their online marketplace

With the Taap.it iPhone (and Android) app, sellers post a picture of the item they wish to sell along with embedded geo-data. Buyers search using distance and keyword parameters.

The focus here is, of course, on local business, and the assumption is that delivery and payment can be handled without any messy third-parties—perhaps the whole transaction can be settled at the local coffee bar.Continue reading

Virtual Office Solo: Cool Startup Project from 8×8

If Virtual Office Solo had been worked out by a few moonlighting developers, and the founder lined up some angel investors and delivered a cool presentation at say New York Tech Meetup, it would be getting a lot more attention from all the usual tech sites.

Solo was instead launched by 8×8, a NASDAQ-traded company that has a long history as a VoIP service provider. Remembered by some (including me) for their residential VoIP service, called Packet8, they’ve since refocused their efforts on the business market.

With Virtual Office Solo, 8×8 now has a simple, ready-to-go browser-based softphone coupled with a virtual phone number that’s designed to appeal to teeny businesses.

I received a demo account from the 8×8 crew yesterday, and have been playing around with this inexpensive ($7.99/ month) service in my spare moments.Continue reading

Mobile World Congress Stream of Consciousness

Casa Mila, Barcelona/Wikimedia

Australian telco rejects femtocell … Intel CEO talks wireless electric lamp … Cisco’s WiFi fail at MWC … Vodafone to avoid closed vertically-integrated systems … Android booth has awesome slide … Euro operators are over-regulated …  HTC Desire S runs Gingerbread … Operators have their own app store …  Augmented reality navigation app

These are a few of the themes and memes that I picked up while checking out the Mobile World Congress web site and scanning Twitter hashtags. Continue reading

The Great Printer Die-off

When future paleontologists examine the fossilized remains of today’s corporate printers, they’ll re-use dinosaur die-off theory to explain the mystery of these inkjet beasts: “A series of environmental changes and perhaps a disruptive technology or two set them on the path to extinction.”

One of those disruptive events has only recently meteored through the tech sky. Anyone passing an empty Barnes and Noble— say for example, the Brontosaurus-size flagship near NYC’s Lincoln Center—knows that ebook readers have smashed the book industry into bits. Borders ain’t doing so well either.

But what’s happening in the consumer world is also recurring more quietly in the closed corporate ecosystem.

Instead of feeding their printers with reports, PowerPoints, and emails, enterprise workers have been using their laptops and now their mobile gadgets as electronic readers.

When will printers disappear from the enterprise scene altogether?Continue reading

Inventin’ with App Inventor, Part II

I have completed a .1 release of my first Android app, hammered together with Google’s App Inventor toolkit.

It’s a simple but trailblazing RSS displayer that pulls in bill status from the New York State Senate’s own open government platform, called unsurprisingly, Open Senate.

To be truthful there’s nothing unique or groundbreaking about another Android app that displays government information.  In fact, half-way through my work I discovered Open Senate already has shrink-wrapped iPhone and Android apps.

The revolutionary part of my efforts has little do with me; they reside with Google.  Thanks to its App Inventor, any somewhat technically evolved person can make and customize useful mobile apps that are just right for their purposes.

And it’s all free, minus your own perspiration equity. Continue reading

OnSIP Evaluates Gingerbread’s SIPness

OnSIP, the cloud-based PBX startup, has reviewed the native SIP capabilities of Gingerbread (Android 2.3).

Within the fine print of Google’s Gingerbread announcement last month was a reference to Internet calling using an onboard SIP stack. So the crew at onSIP got their mitts on a Nexus S and tried it against their own servers.

You can read the evaluation in their blog post. They note that you can’t enter a SIP address directly on the virtual numeric keypad: you first have to add it to the Nexus’s contacts app.  And the Nexus apparently blocks SIP calls that terminate on the PSTN.

It all points to Google’s ambivalent relationship with the carriers. Continue reading

FeedSquares: A Google Reader for Archos

I finally found one.

With all my relevant RSS feeds already nicely organized in my Google Reader, I naively thought it would be easy enough to view my feeds with an Android app.


For those who have tuned in late, the Archos 7o Internet Tablet doesn’t come loaded with Google Market. It’s a serious inconvenience  since I don’t have access now to Google’s free Android apps, although not fatal.

My first idea was to try loading a semi-official Google Reader apk onto my tablet. The one I eventually tracked down in an Android forum predictably failed to register with my online Google credentials.

I turned next to Archo’s own Android app store, AppsLib. After a few false starts, I discovered a winner.Continue reading

Android on Archos: Annoyances


I like my newest gadgedroid, the Archos 7o Internet Tablet. It is usable in a way that the lower cost tablets I purchased earlier, and returned, were not.

With sipdroid now installed and configured to work with my onSIP virtual PBX, I’ve turned airy cloudware into a working, low cost mobile phone solution. The Archos’s email app is completely usable, the browser is browsable, and as I just wrote about, I’ve started introducing my own apps using App Inventor.

But …

Archos tablets do not have Android Market installed. That’s not completely bad news, though certainly a disappointment. To load a free Google app onto the Archos 7o (and presumably the rest of their product line), you’re forced to hunt for .apk files in various forums and Android-dedicated sites, and then install manually.

I’ve begun to experience in the nitty details of Android what many others have already gone through: open Android software does not mean software that will install and work uniformly on all devices.

For example, I tried to get the stand-alone Google Reader app to behave on my Archos. Continue reading

New Year, New Android, New SIP Client (Sipdroid)

I made good on the first of my New Year’s resolutions by overcoming my Android Thriftiness Syndrome and splurging for the Archos 7o Internet Tablet. As soon as I powered it on, it was clear my investment (about $270) had almost paid off.

I watched as the 1 GHz Cortex A8 processor and graphics accelerator made the grass in the default wallpaper gently sway in the virtual breeze. Everything else was equally fluid: WiFi, keyboard, and gesturing. And then with an over-the-air firmware update, I finally was able to enjoy the stabler Froyo (Android 2.2).

I was ready to download a SIP client app, preferably cSipSimple, which I had written about before. Unfortunately, Android Market is not available with the Archos tablets.


I had known this before the purchase, but  didn’t realize how limited Archos’s own “AppsLib” was. Less choices, and more importantly the CSipSimple version I installed on my Archos 7 was not the same as the Market one. Continue reading

Rest in Peace, Yixin

I bricked my Yixin. It didn’t really take that much in the end: merely taping over the on-off button in an attempt to lock a micro SD into a defective slot. Ultimately, I de-springed a not very resilient  power switch, rendering this inexpensive Android device powerless, so to speak.

The market is flooded now with under $200 Android tablets with basic capabilities, most of which will not survive till the next holiday season.  And that is the point: overseas factories will be busy again next year around this time churning out the latest gadgedroids.

My New Year’s resolution after the jump.Continue reading

Yixin: Yikes!

I’m afraid my brief infatuation with Yixin may be nearing an end. I was having trouble with freebie voice recorder apps from the Android Market. Since many require an external chip to store the voice files, I knew it was time to purchase an 8 GB micro SD card. That started a chain of events that led to the disabling of my Yixin 7200’s power button.

Valuable lesson I learned: highly sticky moving tape can be dangerous.Continue reading

Android Christmas Shopping Season Starts Now

On Friday, our friends at Yixin Industry International Group (Shenzhen, China) emailed us with news on a new tablet computer. I guess it won’t be a surprise if I report that their MID YX-7100 product is a 7” iPad clone powered by a Rockchip 2808 processor and running Android 2.1.

I was curious. I took a look at the Yixin website, and this consumer-oriented electronics company has good marketing instincts—better than some well known US laptop makers. I’m impressed with their line of liquid USB flash drives, especially the beer models.

I studied the YX-7100 specs a little more closely, and discovered they’re offering the YX-7100 in white and pink, in addition to basic black. Nice touch!Continue reading

Technoverse Blog to Cruz Reader: Basta!

Trying to find a WiFi signal

I am back from my Italian adventure, enjoying every minute of walking down narrow Roman alleys, biking past Umbrian fields, and eating and drinking the riches of the campagna. I was undecided about bringing along the 7” Cruz Reader until the very last minute when my instinctual urges to check for emails won out.  I had a fully charged tablet when I left the US.

When I arrived at the hotel in Rome, Velocity Micro’s tablet didn’t have enough oomph to power on.  I began to notice a pattern. I would charge the slab for a few hours, use it for a bit, then go out and have my vacation. The next morning I would discover that the Reader had an uncanny ability to leak its charge overnight.  As they say in Italian: basta! (enough).Continue reading

Cruz Reader:Tablet Lite

I was hoping to enter the Android-age this week courtesy of Velocity Micro’s $199 Cruz Reader. The Reader arrived yesterday on my porch sometime during a late afternoon editorial meeting. I excitedly opened up the UPS cardboard to be teased by the words “Unlimited Possibilities” printed on the Cruz’s product packaging.

I haven’t purchased that much gadgetry in recent years, but I do recall that my cell phone  came with a fairly thick operating manual. The Cruz Reader takes a more minimalist approach, providing you with a single-page folded booklet. I couldn’t find much more on-line, so I assumed this is a completely intuitive device that will guide my fingers in doing the work.

After booting up and then adjusting the touch calibration setting, I found that I couldn’t get the Cruz Reader to respond. I thought I had paper-weighted this thing. My fingers told me to reboot this mini-tablet by pressing the silvery on-off button on the side. I learned later that I was actually just putting it into a kind of sleep mode.Continue reading